Worthington's White Shield

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Worthington's White Shield
ManufacturerMolson Coors
DistributorMolson Coors
Country of originBurton upon Trent, England
Alcohol by volume5.6%
Colourrusty orange/golden

Worthington's White Shield (5.6% ABV) is an historic India pale ale (IPA) available principally in bottle conditioned form.[2][3][4] Not as hoppy as a modern IPA, it is today sometimes classed as a "premium bitter".[5]

White Shield was first brewed by the Worthington Brewery in Burton upon Trent in 1829, principally for export to the British Empire. Worthington merged with local rival Bass in 1927, which was itself taken over by Coors in 2002.

White Shield has won the CAMRA Champion Bottled Beer of Britain Gold award three times, more than any other beer.[6]


The 1920s era White Shield logo, as depicted on a car

White Shield is principally available as a bottle conditioned beer, although it has periodically been made available in cask-conditioned form.[7]

White Shield is brewed using pale malt and a small amount of crystal malt.[8] The hops used are Challenger, Fuggles and Northdown.[8] Different yeasts are used for primary and secondary fermentation.[9] After primary fermentation, the beer is conditioned in bulk for three weeks.[8] Once packaged, it is matured in the bottle for a month before being sent out for distribution.[9] Molson Coors claim that the beer will continue to mature in the bottle for up to three years. Former White Shield brewer Steve Wellington described the product in 2011 as "pretty much unchanged since appearing first in 1829".[10]


Worthington's White Shield

Worthington launched East India Pale Ale, their first IPA, in 1829.[1] It was exported to British expatriates across the Empire, mostly officers and civil servants, as the soldiers tended to drink porter, which was more affordable.[11] The growth of the railway network allowed for increased distribution of the beer throughout the United Kingdom.[11] The beer was brewed using the Burton Union system.[12]

The White Shield logo was introduced from the 1870s, and by the end of the nineteenth century the beer took on this name with drinkers. Worthington officially renamed their India Pale Ale "White Shield" from 1950.

92,000 barrels of White Shield were brewed in 1952–53. However, by the 1960s White Shield had become a cult drink brewed in small quantities for a dedicated following; production in 1965 was just 15,000 barrels as drinkers switched to filtered and pasteurised bottled and keg beers.[13] It found renewed popularity in the early 1970s as the demand for real ale grew, but lost this position as the availability of cask ale improved.[14]

Bass relocated production from Burton to their Hope & Anchor brewery in Sheffield in 1981, and the beer ceased to be brewed using the Burton Union method.[15] Production in 1988 totalled 12,000 barrels.[16] The Hope & Anchor brewery was closed down in 1992, and production was moved to Cape Hill in Birmingham, before production was contracted to King and Barnes of Sussex in 1998.[14] By this time, production was down to just 1,000 barrels a year, and the beer's long-term survival was in doubt.[16] The King and Barnes brewery closed down in 2000, and production moved to the Bass owned White Shield microbrewery in Burton upon Trent.[13]

In 2000, a total of 500 barrels were produced; this was forecast to grow to 1,000 barrels by 2009.[17] In 2010, production was moved to the newly constructed William Worthington's Brewery, a microbrewery based at the National Brewery Centre in Burton.[18] It also produces other Worthington beers such as E and seasonal beers.[19] In 2012, increasing demand saw White Shield production moved to the main Coors brewery in Burton.[20] In 2013, Roger Protz described White Shield as the highest selling bottle conditioned beer in Britain.[21]


  1. ^ a b Fort, Matthew (22 September 2007). "Vintage beer". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  2. ^ Roger Protz (1 July 2013). "Worthington's White Shield, Molson Coors". protzonbeer.co.uk.
  3. ^ Michael Jackson (28 August 1992). "White Shield". independent.co.uk.
  4. ^ Thinking Drinkers (12 Mar 2014). "Six beers that changed the world". telegraph.co.uk.
  5. ^ "Worthington's White Shield". ratebeer.com.
  6. ^ Champion Bottle-conditioned Beers
  7. ^ "Molson Coors Direct". Molsoncoorsdirect.com. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
  8. ^ a b c Bluck, Jim (11 July 2013). "Go for a Burton with White Shield pale ale". Complete France. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
  9. ^ a b Cawte, Robert (Autumn 2008). "A visit to the White Shield brewery" (PDF). Solihull Drinker. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  10. ^ David Mayhall (November 2011). "Desert Island Beers – Steve Wellington". Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  11. ^ a b Philip Williams (March 1, 2001). "Jewel returns to Bass crown". The Birmingham Post (England). Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  12. ^ "Shielded by loyalty". Off Licence News. May 23, 2003.
  13. ^ a b Fort, Matthew (22 September 2007). "Vintage beers". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  14. ^ a b Jackson, Michael (29 August 1992). "Drink the beer, swallow the tonic". The Independent. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  15. ^ Williams, Philip (1 March 2001). "Jewel Returns to Bass Crown". Birmingham Post.
  16. ^ a b Protz, Roger (21 February 1998). "Last orders: Bass bottles out". The Guardian.
  17. ^ "Expansion for White Shield microbrewery". Burton Mail. 24 February 2009. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  18. ^ "William Worthington's White Shield Beer, IPA microbrewery beer - Burton upon Trent - Heritage". Worthingtonswhiteshield.com. Archived from the original on January 26, 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
  19. ^ "Molson Coors Opens New British Cask Ale Brewery". FoodAndDrinkBusiness.com. Archived from the original on August 16, 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
  20. ^ Roger Protz (7 June 2012). "New livery for historic Burton IPA". Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  21. ^ Protz, Roger (30 November 2013). "A spoonful of yeast makes beer age well". Protz on Beer. Retrieved 30 November 2013.